An easy 2-hour drive north of Christchurch, Kaikoura is a picturesque coastal town renowned for its fantastic wildlife and delicious seafood. Sited on a peninsula that juts out from the Seaward Kaikoura Ranges, the town has the snow-clad mountains as its backdrop and spectacular views over rugged beaches. In Maori ‘Kai’ means food and ‘Koura’ means crayfish – so even if you are just stopping on your way to Marlborough you know what you can look forward to for lunch!


With whales, fur seals and dolphins permanently living in the surrounding waters its worth taking time to go out on a whale watching excursion – either by boat or air. The whales reside in these waters all year round, the nearby seal colony is within easy walking distance of the town and Kaikoura is also home to endless seabirds, including the albatross, making it a truly magical wildlife destination. Pods of dolphins ranging in size from 100 to 1000 are also usually found in the surrounding waters all year round, these ‘dusky’ dolphins are incredibly acrobatic so either watching or swimming with them is a ‘must-do’ whilst here.

Kaikoura is also a great place to meet the local Maori people and experience their culture and traditions; tours are available.